I love my husband, but I wish he would stop forgetting where he left the cotton swabs he used to clean his ears.
That’s not an essential change he must make for me to love him, but still, wouldn’t it be nice?
I feel pretty much the same way about my body. I love it, but I wouldn’t be mad about seeing changes in some parts. So to answer the question posed in the title of this post, yes, I think you can love your body but still want to change it. Here’s why, a bit more specifically.
Loving my body isn’t just about looks. Or strength, or speed, or health. It’s about all those things and more. If one of those things isn’t where I want it to be, there is still a lot to love about my body. Some days, what I love about my body is the simple fact that it’s giving me life, and that’s enough.
I’m allowed to be disappointed in things I love. Going back to the husband analogy, I’m allowed to be angry with him, disappointed in him, and I can even ask him to think about changing certain behaviors that particularly bother me. None of those things mean I don’t love him. I’m allowed to be disappointed that I’m not getting stronger or faster, or annoyed with a stubborn body part that won’t shrink or grow, and that doesn’t mean I don’t love my body.
Loving my body means I take care of it. Love means more to me than just being happy. Love is an action. Loving my body means I take care of it whether I’m happy with it or not. Loving my body means I’m nice to it. I can still do the action of loving my body at the same time I’m trying to change it. In fact, if I was neglecting my body, changing it by starting to take care of it can be an act of self-love.
I know that changing my body won’t necessarily make me love it more. I’ve often seen people reach their goal weight and still feel unhappy or get their goal body and still think they had a lot more work to do. I was one of those people. Once I figured this out, it was a lot easier for me to decide to love my body unconditionally, all the time, and take the stress off myself when it came to changing it.
My body is changing anyway. Whether I’m trying to change it or not, my body is always changing and will continue to do so. It will change because of age, exercise, food, children, and the list goes on. I don’t have the option of picking a goal body and maintaining that appearance forever. That body exists for a brief point in time. If that’s the only form of myself I can love, I’m in for a lifetime of disappointment. Therefore, I choose to love my body in all its forms and changes, planned or unplanned.
What do you think? Can you love your body while still trying to change it?